|Ph.D Student||Abramovich Anat|
|Subject||The Environmental Workshop- Bridging Environmental Sciences|
and Environmental Education
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Tali Tal|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
The 1992 Rio-World Summit raised awareness to certain environmental problems which can be partially resolved by implementing sustainability as a way of life. Unfortunately, though highly important, education for sustainability (EfS) has not yet been widely adopted in Israel. The present study focuses on the Environmental-Workshop (EW), which is a mandatory unit in environmental sciences, an elective course for science majors in the high-school, in Israel. The approach underlying the research was that a learning unit, such as the EW, which combines the classroom with outdoor activities, acts for the benefit of the environment and the community, would elevate the students' environmental literacy.
The aim of the research was to examine if the EW could be a "bridge" between the wide ideas of EfS and environmental science, which focuses on the scientific subjects.
The research, conducted between 2006 and 2009, included 50 teachers, who taught environmental science, 150 high-school students and 33 pre-service science teachers. The pre-service teachers were chosen for this research because of the lack of educational models, in Israel, that concern EfS, for environmental science teachers. The EW characteristics were examined through questionnaires and observations. Knowledge gaining from the Environmental Workshop was examined via Personal Meaning Mapping (PMM) interviews. Environmental attitudes, behavior and behavior intentions were measured by questionnaires and semi structured interviews. Two real socio-scientific dilemmas were used to assess the students’ environmental literacy, according to rubric, which was based on the relevant professional literature. In addition, we examined the pre-service teachers’ commitment to teach environmental issues as well.
The findings indicted that although the Environmental-Workshops are different from each other, they include basic elements of EfS. There has been a significant improvement in knowledge that was acquired during learning in the EW, though the overall knowledge was fair. The overall number of awareness and behavior statements has significantly increased among all participants. There was also a shift toward more complex statements. The findings also point to a significant change in environmental literacy among all participants. As for commitment to teach environmental issues we found that students who specifically committed to teach about the environment were the same individuals who expressed the higher levels of environmental awareness and behavior.
The conclusion is that the EW has the potential of being an environmental education model and can enhance learners' environmental literacy.